Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer







Saturday, June 15, 2013

Red-Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond, Part 2 of Four Year Blogversary~




Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there~

This post is my second of a 3 part series on the Red-Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond.
Tingsgrove, for those who may be new to my blog, is what our 2 acres in Oldham County KY is affectionately called. 
Beyond can be from just beyond these borders, all the way around the world and back.
This year the nest was fortunately just across the lane from our property line, and catty/corner to it. 
I could hear whenever the female was calling for a meal to be brought in, or needed a break from her duties, and then have time to dash over to take a look-see and snag a few images.
This is an area loaded with trees nearby and so they would usually exchange food where I could not get to so easily. 
They would also take off for their soaring flights during this time and so those flight shots were rare as well. 
When we left off in part 1 of my blogversary share, there were 3 white fluffy, healthy eyas on the nest. 
On Mother's Day morning, when I went to check on them, one had fallen and was dead.  While this is always such a tragedy, it is something that I could almost foresee was going to happen, for no other reason, other than that nest was just too small for all of those wings...to say the least.
The Tuesday, following Mother's Day, only one eyas remained and I never found the missing one. 
It was there, and eating the day before, and it could be that it was knocked out late evening on Monday and then either a Fox, Raccoon, or maybe even a feral cat took it. 
Now the nest had one remaining eyas, and however sad this was, I hoped and yes, prayed that it would remain safe and in the coming days and weeks thrive.
Many times before the first two were lost, and the adults would land on the rim of the nest, it seemed that it was inevitable, that one was going down, for they would literally be perched on the far edge, when an adult would fly in with a meal and then have to fight their way back into the well of the nest, to receive their fill.
I do not know about all raptors, however I do know that Red-Shouldered Hawks are totally devoted to the care and well being of their young ones and while I also do not know if they feel emotions when one is lost...there certainly is a change of mood that seems to take over the care of the one that remained...it became intense!
 
Remember to double click on the image, to view a larger slide show of the images shared ~

I am linking up with Mary for:

"Mosaic Monday"


at:
http://dearlittleredhouse.blogspot.com

and


I am linking up with Stewart at:

 


As the days began to warm up and the young one was growing by leaps and bounds, the hen took more time to perch in the trees near the nest and preen and sun herself. 
She really is such a beautiful bird, and now that she is back in the woods doing her thing, I will miss her and how close I have been these past months to one so wild.
 I so respect these birds and appreciate all that they do to ensure their kind lives on.
 
 
 
 
 



In the images above, you can see that the hen has flown onto the nest with a meal. 
The eyas had been sunning on the same edge, that she flew in from and it took everything that it could do, to maneuver around and get itself safely into the feeding position. 
 I promise you, I do think that I held my breath for a solid 2 minutes on this one!
 
 


At first when I took the 2 sets of images below, I thought this was the male, but now looking back, I doubt it. 
While the hen is used to me being around, if the male is off the nest from brooding duties, then he is not approachable for me at all~
 


I just love the time that the little chicks begin to move about the nest and explore their wing movement. 
They flit about and hop and jump and seem so innocent.
You would have to experience these young ones and their growth, to realize how every day is a huge change...they develop so quickly to the stage of first flight~
 


Just look how large this hen is on that small nest and actually some would think that it was adequate, but I have watched them long enough to realize from the get go, that this was not a great choice~
 
 
 


As nature would have it...there is a full course of dining for Birds of Prey and Spring birth.  It could be a young Blue Jay, American Robin, Cardinal, Thrush, or most often Snakes, Chipmunks and Frogs. 
The hen had a young Blue Jay in her talons for this feeding. 
The male would make the capture and then transfer it to the hen to feed to the chick~


It is always a thrill for me, the first time that the eyas begins to notice this strange creature who is always watching over the nest site...~




I could slowly walk right up underneath the nest tree to observe and photograph. 
There were no real threats, or alarms this entire season. 
One must be extremely careful when dealing with Birds of Prey, for they are extrememly protective of the nest site. 
I have said this before and I shall say it again. 
It is as if these birds know that I am of no threat and that in some ways, am trusted, yet I am always, always on guard and am very cautious with my approach as well as when I walk away~




All Birds of Prey are carnivorous, and obtain all nutrients from the animals that they prey upon.
The nutrients that come from what they eat provides them with vegetable matter and water that is required for good health, found in the stomachs of their prey.
Raptors devour their prey entirely, regurgitating (casting) the indigestible matter in pellet form, a couple of times a day.
In the image below, the hen is presenting a casting~




The images in the mosaic below are quite endearing to me, for this is the time, when things are about to change for the chick. 
The hen has come to the nest with no food. 
She has come to show the young one that soon it will have to get brave and leave the security of the nest, where it has been since hatching a few short weeks before.
As the hen leaves, the young one begins to try it's wings and hops even higher and seems more sure of it's footing now~






In the image above, it felt like the hen was giving her single eyas a little pep talk. 
Telling it that it was going to big and strong and that it had to be brave to leave the nest, but that it could do it.
She got very close to it as if to give final bit of encouragement...you can do this little one.
The very next morning, I saw the hen with a meal in her beak, and she was on the nest...but where was the young one...oh yeah, it had flown and, or hopped to a large branch in an adjoining tree.
The hen flew down and hopped along the branch and gave her young one it's first meal off of the nest and then the eyas did what always happens, at this point in time. 
It proceeded to drop it's meal to the ground below.
Both the hen and the chick looked around for it and when I came back a little while later, the meal was gone. 
This post ends with the young one off of the nest and soon it will be ready to fly.



Please be sure to come back and see what happens on my final post of 3...
sharing the Red-Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond, for my 4 th year blogverasary, coming on June 24~
Thank you so much for your visit and always for your encouraging comments. 
You make the whole blogging experience so very rewarding~

33 comments:

  1. sorry about their losses, but at least this little one got to grow!

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  2. Awesome captures and congrats on your 4 years!

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  3. Loved this Mary! Your photos are so wonderful. And your text helped me understand some of what I saw at "our" eagle aerie....as a very very amateur watcher (and unable to give the time that you did). I know the regulars were ecstatic that two hatchlings made it this year. (I do know that they are two different birds of prey, but I imagine much behavior is the same.) I wish I could go with you to watch your nest. You are a wonderful teacher!

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  4. Your photos are beautiful Mary. It is so nice to see these captures in the wild. Enjoy the weekend. Pamela

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  5. Oh what a fabulous post! You're so lucky to have seen these wonderful birds and their young. Your collages are magical.

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  6. What a wonderful story, and what a privilege to have the nest so close for observation. And great pix you picked out of your 4000+. I'll be returning to hear the rest.

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  7. The babies are always the very sweetest photos but I also love seeing the wing span as the hawk is in flight. Amazing photos my friend! Happy bloversary! You've given us so much joy this year. I hope you continue to share your talents with all of us! Sweet hugs!

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  8. Great Raptor pictures Mary. I could sit and watch and take pictures of their offspring.

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  9. Hi Mary
    Those of us who like birds can appreciate all the photos that you have taken to share of the hawks with their young one. I might have missed the first part so went back and read it too and feel sorry for them that 2 babies were lost.
    I'm wondering if they use this same nesting site, if it would be possible to build a platform under the nest to give it stability? We have peregrine falcons that were building a yearly nest by the railway track and an interested group built them a platform and successfully moved the nesting material to the new location which was quieter and safer.
    Thanks for sharing the story of the hawks, I look forward to the next part.
    Judith

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  10. Absolutely fantastic nature photography ~ Wow! ^_^

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  11. Oh thank you Mary for taking us on this journey with you - it has been wonderful to see the progression of these birds. What a thrill for you to be there to experience it and a privilege to be so close to these birds.
    It is funny about nests - we have a dove pair that nests here every year - their nest seems very inadequate - just a few sticks thrown together in the fork of the tree. One wonders how it holds its precious cargo.
    Have a wonderful week and thank your for the wonderful images.

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  12. Wonderful set of images of the birds from the nature.

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  13. Mary, what a great post. I love your Hawk photos! It is wonderful, you have this nest close by to watch their progress. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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  14. I am really enjoying your wonderful story - the shots you've taken are so amazing - I'm praying the remaining chick makes it safely into the big wide world!

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  15. I love the focused observation you share with us on your blog. How you love bird watching. Your photos are always stunning.

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  16. I feel as if I just watched a national geographic show : ) Your time and patience in capturing these images and then sharing them and your story with us is much appreciated! :)

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  17. I can see what you mean about this year's nest not being the best Mary. In some of your shots the construction looks well used and somewhat lopsided. On the other hand it has just about stood the test of time and allowed one little one tosurvive until it doesn't need the enclosed space. You have taken many brilliant shots and have all your readers now engrossed in the story; and surely a happy ending soon.

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  18. Mary, outstanding documentation of these marvelous birds! While I was so very saddened to hear about the loss of two of the youngsters, I am happy that at least one has survived. How fortunate you are to be able to visit this nesting sight and observe and photograph the raptors fascinating behavior. Your images are stellar!

    Also, on my recent blog post about orioles eating jelly, you inquired if I had to take the jelly in at night to avoid it being eaten by raccoons. I have been placing jelly out for at least four years now and have yet to have a raccoon destroy the feeder. It's very surprising because they love to raid our other feeders. Rarely do we have a problem with insects. Perhaps the orioles & other birds eat it up so quickly, the bugs don't have time to find it. I was surprised to see a Red-bellied Woodpecker delighting in the jelly last week.

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  19. Hi Mary,

    So nice to meet you! Your photos and facts about the Red-Shouldered Hawk are most captivating! In addition, your great respect for the natural world and birds is evident and eloquently narrated. Thanks for sharing!

    Poppy

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  20. Wow, you sure have some fantastic photos.Great informative post.

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  21. Hi Mary. Another fabulous post documenting your close relationship with this family. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sequel will show a positive outcome for them.

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  22. A great serie of birdphotos, - well done!

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  23. Another great series, Mary. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  24. Great photos and interesting observations about how carefully they rear their chicks.

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  25. Looks like you had a lot of fun watching the nesting process. Great that you could get such good shots of it all.
    Sorry I have not been commenting much landing, things are a bit here and there . . .

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  26. Wonderful documentation of the hawks, and excellent photos!

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  27. Wow! You really captured those beautiful hawks.

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  28. Great series of photos and narrative. Nature is not always kind to young ones. Hopefully the remaining chick will survive.

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  29. Sorry about the little ones, but these are fantastic shots of your hawks! I'm envious. Congratulations on your anniversary!

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  30. Great set of pictures.

    My point about the wild birds is that I think we spend a lot of time pretending that things are wild, and tend not to notice that the bird is attractive regardless of where it is!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  31. how nice to be able follow them like this.

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I love and enjoy each visitor to "Red Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond." I truly appreciate those who have become followers to my blog and really am encouraged by the wonderful comments. I also enjoy leaving comments and would like to ask that you please make your blog word verification free! You still have top security settings and you still have control over the comments published. It would make it so much easier, if you would consider doing this. I switched several months ago and am thrilled with the results~